Pilgrims who want to visit Kedarnath by helicopter will be able to book helicopter tickets through the immensely popular train reservation website IRCTC. The decision was taken by the Uttarakhand government at a time when the Char Dham Yatra 2023 is about to start in some days’ time.
An MOU was signed recently at a meeting between a high-level meeting of officials of IRCTC and Uttarakhand Civil Aviation Development Authority (UCADA). The trial run of the online platform for booking tickets for Kedarnath Heli Services will be completed by March 31. Pilgrims can start booking Kedarnath Helicopter tickets by the first week of April.
Tenders for Heli Services to Kedarnath
As many as nine helicopter service companies have applied for helicopter service from Guptkashi, Sirsa, and Phata. Pawan Hans and Castral Aviation will operate the helicopter service from Phata. From Sirsi, Himalayan Heli and Castral Aviation will operate helicopter services.
The Uttarakhand government has allotted these companies to offer Kedarnath Helicopter services for pilgrims. It will streamline and simplify the entire process of Kedarnath helicopter ticket booking.
The Easy and Simple Online Ticket Process
Up till now, pilgrims could only book helicopter tickets through GMVN (Garhwal Mandal Vikas Nigam). This new system of Kedarnath heli ticket booking through IRCTC will make the booking process much easier, uncomplicated, and simple. Under this system, the Uttarakhand government expects that 70 percent of the tickets will be booked via the online portal of IRCTC (Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation) and the remaining 30 percent will be booked via heli companies that are offering this service.
Huge Demand for Helicopter Service to Kedarnath
The Char Dham Yatra is the most awaited festival in Uttarakhand. Every year the number of pilgrims who visit Char Dham Yatra temples has been steadily increasing. After the worst phases of the COVID pandemic ended, there was a sudden rise in the number of people visiting the Char Dham Yatra destinations in Uttarakhand.
Check out: How to register for Char Dham Yatra 2023?
According to sources, there was a 35 percent rise in Char Dham Yatra pilgrims in 2022 as compared to pre-covid levels in 2019. The helicopter service to Kedarnath was hugely popular as more than 1.32 lakh pilgrims took this service. May and June are very busy months when the Char Dham Yatra is at its peak. This year 2023, the entire booking for helicopter services to Kedarnath will be done online booking portal.
Health Advisory for Pilgrims in 2023
The Uttarakhand government has advised the pilgrims to do their health checkups on time before arriving at the Char Dham Yatra shrines. They should move about in camps slowly and take short halts at the yatra routes so that they allow other pilgrims to stay at these camps.
In 2022 last year, many pilgrims faced health troubles during their Char Dham Yatra. Pilgrims will have to adapt to the climatic conditions in Uttarakhand so that they can derive much more pleasure from this year’s 2023 Char Dham Yatra.